Audi carefully analyzes the environmental aspects in its global network of plants – with the vision of producing many of its cars in the future in CO₂-neutral plants. Along the way, it uses innovative concepts and technologies, from data glasses to the new, bionically inspired press tool.
As part of its holistic approach, Audi analyzes closely the environmental aspects in its global network of plants. Certified environmental management systems play a major role in this respect.
The use of innovative technologies as well as organizational measures as part of environmental management systems are hugely important for the Audi Group. All Audi Group European production plants are certified to EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) – a European Union environmental management system that goes way beyond standard requirements.
Furthermore, the Ingolstadt, Győr (Hungary) and Sant’Agata Bolognese (Italy) plants are accredited under the worldwide DIN EN ISO 14001 standard. The same certification exists for the new plant in São José dos Pinhais (Brazil) and for the motorcycle plant in Bologna (Italy) as well as for the Volkswagen Group’s plants used by Audi in Bratislava (Slovakia), Martorell (Spain) and Aurangabad (India). The Changchun and Foshan plants run by the associated company FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company, Ltd., Changchun (China), are also certified to the DIN EN ISO 14001 standard.
The Audi plant in San José Chiapa (Mexico) is currently preparing certification to DIN EN ISO 14001:2015. This amended standard places particular emphasis on environmentally sustainable business processes. The Audi Ingolstadt and Győr production sites are already certified to DIN EN ISO 14001:2015.
Furthermore, the environmental management systems of the Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr, Brussels (Belgium) and Sant’Agata Bolognese production sites meet the DIN EN ISO 50001 specifications which place exceptionally stringent requirements on systematically and continually reducing energy consumption. In 2014, the Audi Group became the first premium automobile manufacturer to obtain accreditation of its corporate carbon footprint under the worldwide DIN EN ISO 14064 standard. In this way, Audi discloses its Company-wide greenhouse gas emissions along the entire value chain so that we can analyze them in even greater detail and reduce them more effectively in the future.
Environmental declarations reflect the continuous development of site-specific environmental protection within the scope of Audi environmental management. Their contents relate primarily to waste management, pollution control, water conservation, energy and environmental campaigns.
For mobility to be sustainable, automobiles need to be built with minimal impact on the environment. Audi is therefore working intensively to shrink the carbon footprint of its production sites. Audi is pursuing the long-term vision of an entirely carbon neutral automotive manufacturing process.
When it comes to energy-saving measures, the goal is to design energy-efficient plants and buildings as well as sustainable logistics operations. Audi was the first premium manufacturer to have its corporate CO2 footprint certified according to the international standard ISO 14064. In this way, the Company has made transparent the main causes of emissions along the entire value chain and thereby identified the potential for further reducing greenhouse gases over the entire life cycle of an automobile.
The entire Ingolstadt plant has been using renewable power since the start of 2012. Photovoltaic modules on its roofs also supply around 1,800 MWh of energy per year. 40 percent of this is used on site, for example to run the production facilities. On top of that, around 70,000 MWh of environmentally friendly district heating (primary energy factor = 0) are used each year. Its paint shop rates as one of the most environmentally friendly anywhere in the world. That is all thanks to cutting-edge technologies such as air recirculation, dry separation and exhaust air treatment.
The Münchsmünster production facility near Ingolstadt uses a high-efficiency combined heat and power plant and has been running on 100 percent green power since January 2015. The new Audi Neuburg site also runs on power generated from renewables and the facility is heated mainly using waste heat.
There is an array of initiatives for environmental protection at Audi sites internationally too: At Győr (Hungary), for example, Audi Hungaria Kft. has been meeting around 60 percent of its heat requirements with geothermal energy since fall 2015. At Sant’Agata Bolognese, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. commissioned a combined heat, power and refrigeration plant (CHRP) in the 2015 fiscal year and the plant also uses the waste heat from a nearby biogas plant; its power comes entirely from renewable sources.
The new plant in San José Chiapa (Mexico), opened in fall 2016, has one of the most environmentally friendly paint shops in the Americas. An air circulation system markedly reduces energy consumption and water consumption, too, is low. Furthermore, Audi México recycles over 90 percent of its waste.
Ecological responsibility is an integral part of Audi's production strategy – and therefore also of Audi's Smart Factory. The company aims to produce many of its vehicles in a 100 percent CO₂-neutral plant in the near future. The company is focused on climate protection and conserving resources and is constantly stepping up its efforts for sustainable production. In working toward this goal, Audi is using the newest technologies as well as developing innovative solutions.
Audi put a new topcoat paint shop into operation in 2016 at the Ingolstadt site. There, up to 900 bodies can be painted per day, over three floors. The modern paint-application systems conserve resources thanks to especially environmentally friendly technology, and ergonomically designed workplaces make life easier for the employees.
The new paint shop is one of the world’s most eco-friendly. This is thanks to the use of the latest technologies such as air recirculation, dry separation and cleaning of exhaust air. These measures allow us to significantly reduce the use of resources so that heating energy and water consumption per vehicle is lowered by 20 percent. Furthermore, air recirculation is responsible for a 30 percent drop in CO2 emissions per car painted; and the cleaning of exhaust air reduces volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by 90 percent.
In Audi production, the plants are being made fit for the future. The Audi Production Lab is a think tank for the future – the small team acts as the interface between innovation and volume production and supports employees in production as well as planners and engineers. The Audi Production Lab is currently overseeing pilot projects in the use of different types of data glasses for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Potential uses for these glasses look promising. Along with providing assistance features to employees, they can be used for site-independent conferences. By projecting complete in a virtual space, for example, additional meetings can be held in digital format. This will enable the Company to cut down on lengthy business trips, which improves the environmental footprint while also easing the strain on employees.
Audi's Toolmaking division is setting standards in the development of press tools. When developing these new press tools, the toolmaking experts are guided by structures that are found in nature. Many of their components are made of aluminum or plastic; the weight of the tools, at anything up to 45 metric tons, has been reduced by up to 20 percent. The energy required in the press is reduced by around 10 percent, while the precision during forming of the blanks is improved.
The first tools of the new generation debuted at Audi in 2013. Since then, the brand has steadily developed them further. Today they are present in almost all Audi press shops – in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr, Bratislava and San José Chiapa.
Audi's Toolmaking division has also implemented projects for cross-plant, virtual collaboration. Technical systems in Audi production are planned, built and managed with the highest precision. Despite this, their extremely high complexity means they can never be 100 percent free of malfunctions. In such situations, the plant and equipment construction (AVB) part of Audi's Toolmaking division is called on to assist. With its remote maintenance portal, it is the central support hub and thus ensures unified standards across all Audi plants worldwide. It provides support to body manufacturing systems at five sites.
If a system operator – for example in Bratislava or in the newest Audi plant in San José Chiapa/Mexico – notices a malfunction that he is unable to resolve on his own, he can request assistance via the remote maintenance portal. Especially in the commissioning phases, which are becoming ever shorter, remote maintenance shows its strengths and helps save a considerable amount of time, costs and CO2emissions, because fewer trips are required to carry out maintenance.